It has been estimated that 21 million Americans live with depression each year. The negative effects of clinical depression can be far-reaching, even life-altering as sadness replaces energy, interest in one’s surroundings is lost, and the impact may eventually provoke autoimmune or neurological conditions if left unchecked over time.
Stress and clinical depression can do much to damage one’s self-esteem, relationships, and overall medical and mental health. Due to the pervasive nature of depression, a holistic approach to healing of depression is necessary to realize maximal health and wellness when it strikes.
Since the mind affects the body and the body affects the mind, it follows that there is a shared chemistry between the two. In essence, that is what the mind-body connection is all about. The mind and body need to work together for healing to occur.
When one endures significant stress, clinical depression may be the result. However, for some people, it doesn’t end there as that same high-level stress can enter the body via the autoimmune system causing a number of medical illnesses including arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), Myasthenia Gravis (MG), lupus, and even some forms of cancer. In such cases, it is easy to detach from the stress one experiences and think that the depression and medical issues are separate; and for some that is the case. However, high-impact stress can alter the mind-body chemistry, making the body more prone to infirmity and disability.
Oftentimes, there is a disruption in health that is connected to, possibly even caused by, what I call stress overload. Clearly, there is more to the mind-body connection than meets the eye. Certainly we all have a mind, body and spirit. When we experience infirmity, disability and depression, anxiety, PTSD or a combination, which often go hand in hand, it can be great comfort to acknowledge that we are not in this alone. We have God, or what some call a higher power, to help us simply for the asking. Trusting and believing in a higher being can greatly impact one’s mind-body health as they reach out for guidance, comfort, inner peace, protection and wisdom in dealing with their circumstances. It is a sign of strength to ask for help when we are in need.
The power of prayer is undeniable, as medical research has shown that people who pray, or have someone praying for them in intercessory prayer, heal more quickly. They have shorter hospital stays, and return to work sooner. Overall, they fare better than those who do not have prayer support. This reaching out for help on all levels–mind-body-spirit-is a sign of using all available means to improve one’s health and maximize wellness. Taking one’s medication, engaging in psychotherapy, and utilizing prayer as an adjunct treatment may very well be the comprehensive plan needed to avert medical illness and heal as quickly as possible from depression with the proclamation: ‘Depression Be Gone!’